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 Texas : Features : Columns : "It's All Trew"

Parade honoring mothers-in-law
drew thousands

by Delbert Trew
Delbert Trew
After more than 500 weekly columns my faithful readers are aware that some articles are true and others may have a Trew twist and a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor. So help me, the following is true, taken from the book, "Amarillo - The Story Of A Western Town." I credit Paul H. Carlson with the story and all is based on published facts.
The story begins in the hard, dry, financially troubled year of 1934 when Gene Howe, editor and publisher of the Amarillo Globe-News Corporation and his "Tactless Texan" newspaper column somehow offended his mother-in-law Nellie Donald.

She and other mothers-in-law rebelled in retaliation causing such a ruckus that Howe, in humble retreat, announced that on March 5, 1934, Mother-In-Law Day would be celebrated along with the Amarillo Fat Stock Show celebration.
First intended as a small local event to placate the offended, the celebration drew national attention when Will Rogers mentioned the upcoming celebration on his national radio show. Hollywood paid attention and sent camera crews down to record the unusual festivities. Mothers-in-law from across the nation including first lady Eleanor Roosevelt sent greetings of varied nature.

On the appointed days the celebration filled the hotels as mothers-in-law arrived in droves. A parade down Polk Street drew an estimated 6,000 viewers.
Paramount Theater and Polk Street, Amarillo,  Texas at night
Paramount Theater and Polk Street, Amarillo, Texas
Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/
The grand finale held on the Paramount Theater's stage, featured prizes presented to many ladies while Howe named Nellie as "the stateliest and most beautiful" of all. His apology drew a standing ovation from the crowd.

For millenniums mothers-in-law in general had been the butt of jokes, blamed for divorces or being the obvious reason sons-in-law left for greener pastures. Not anymore. This was their day as they joined hands and celebrated the much-deserved apologetic celebration.

As each year passed the event grew in size and importance. On the fifth anniversary Roosevelt agreed to come to Amarillo to join in the event.

Five governors along with Texas Gov. James V. Allred made the day an official state celebration. The banks closed and extra police were hired to protect and guide the parade.

Roosevelt led the parade riding in a blue Buick, mounted a viewing stand and watched the remainder of the long pageant pass.

One magnificent float measuring 165 feet in length, carried 591 mothers-in-law, and since I no longer have a mother-in-law I might add, they were probably all talking at the same time.

To top off the day, Amarillo Mayor Ross D. Rogers and Howe presented the first lady with a bouquet containing 5,000 roses, weighing 2,500 pounds and requiring a crane to lift it to the viewing stand for presentation. Now that is some bouquet even in Texas.

I know! This sounds like a Texas whopper but it actually happened right here in Big A. I can prove it because "it's in the book."
Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew" June 8, 2009 Column
E-mail: trewblue@centramedia.net.

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